Judges Look To Find Interim Philadelphia District Attorney

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Applications for those interested in becoming Philadelphia’s interim District Attorney are due this week.

Since former the DA Seth Williams resigned at the end of June after pleading guilty to corruption charges, a special committee will recommend candidates.

“We recognize the need to act timely and efficiently,” says Hon. Sheila Woods Skipper, President judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Her office issued the call for candidates on Friday after she appointed a Special Committee that is comprised of three judges.

The committee’s goal is to accept and evaluate applications for those interested in becoming interim DA, a job that would only run through January when the a newly elected DA is sworn in.

“We really have no idea how many applicant to expect, but anyone who meets the qualifications is welcome to apply,” says Woods-Skipper.

In order to apply, candidates must submit all paper work to City Hall Room 342 by 2:00 p.m. July 14, 2017.

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The Special Committee will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the Board of Judges.

Qualified candidates will make their presentations on July 19th.

This is not the first time this process has been used. It was rolled out back in 1991 when then D.A. Ronald Castille resigned to run for mayor. Lynne Abraham was appointed at that time and later was elected to the position.

The three judges on the Special Committee, “Hon. Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, Hon. Isa K. Chen and Hon. Arnold L. New were all judges when the process was used in the 1990s and voted at that time, says Woods-Skipper.

“We are familiar with the process,” says Woods-Skipper, “We want it to be fair and impartial and restore stability and confidence in the system.”

Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Deborah Gross applauds the effort: “I believe this will be a through vetting of the candidates.”

The Bar sent the call for applications to its 12,000 members and the process is open to all attorneys who are in good standing. Gross believes the appointment of an interim DA is necessary.

“We need to restore public trust in the system,” she says.

The Board of Judges will vote to select an interim DA on July 20th; the appointee will take office immediately thereafter.

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